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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

I've heard so many ridiculous comments and read so many bad reviews about "IIlud Divinum Insanus" by now, that it's really starting to piss me off in a massive way! Somehow it seems to me that people just join the hate parade in order not to lose their underground credibility among their friends or other Death Metal fans. It's almost like a new fashion at the moment to talk shit about the songs, the musicians who wrote them, the production, the lyrics or whatever else... Well, I hate to disappoint you folks, but I don't give a shit about all the mocking and I'm really proud to confess that I fuckin' love "IIlud Divinum Insanus"! I've been following MORBID ANGEL since 1986 now and totally agree that their early works are untouchable milestones in Death Metal history. No other Death Metal album will probably ever be able to top "Altars Of Madness", just like no other Thrash Metal album will probably be able to top "Reign In Blood" - period! MORBID ANGEL had created their own unique style that quickly served as the blueprint for thousands of younger bands, who all tried to write music in the "typical MORBID ANGEL style". Some of them came pretty close, but most of them failed in a miserable way. Not even MORBID ANGEL themselves were able to live up to those high standards, just like SLAYER wasn't able to deliver another album of "Reign In Blood" quality. "Blessed Are The Sick", "Covenant" and "Domination" all had a bunch of killer songs, but also a couple of fillers and in the Steve Tucker period it got even worse, because the albums also started to loose real standout tracks... That's why I gotta ask you the following question: where have you all been when "Heretic" got released? I mean, seriously folks - that album is a lot (and I mean A LOT!) worse than "IIlud Divinum Insanus"... But it seems that no one really took notice of that, simply because at that time MORBID ANGEL was already a pale shadow of what they used to be in the beginning! Which finally leads us to "IIlud Divinum Insanus"... Yes, the new album is challenging, it's different, it's got some elements that you haven't heard on previous MORBID ANGEL albums... and you're right, those elements aren't new to the music scene in general. Everything has already been done by one band or another... But did the MORBID ANGEL guys ever tell anyone that they invented something completely new? As far as I know, they didn't! Just like any other band that has been around a little longer already, they were simply looking for new elements to spice up their wellknown style in order to come up with a record that doesn't sound exactly like its predecessor. Cause if they had done that, all those of you who talk shit about the band now would probably complain about the lack of progression or how boring the album is, because it most certainly would sound too much like one of their previous ones... To me MORBID ANGEL did exactly the right thing by expanding their musical boundaries, on one hand with the industrial influenced 'Too Extreme!', 'Radikult' or 'Destructos Vs. The Earth' or the hymn like and extremely catchy 'I Am Morbid' on the other (btw: I bet that especially 'I Am Morbid'  will turn into a new crowd favorite rather quickly!). And just in case you shouldn't have noticed (because you were too busy complaining about those unusual songs or whatever), the rest of the album is still pretty typical, right into your face, ripping MORBID ANGEL stuff! 'Existo Vulgoré', 'Blades For Baal', '10 More Dead', 'Nevermore', 'Beauty Meets Beast' and 'Profundis - Mea Culpa' could easily have been released on any other MORBID ANGEL record without getting the same negative feedback as the stuff receives now! So, no matter if you like the new songs or not, at least you gotta confess that they are all pretty extreme in their own way ("Too Extreme" for some of you maybe?!)... And with that in mind it certainly doesn't make any sense to me at all if you compare "IIlud Divinum Insanus" with a shitty album like "Cold Lake", which was nothing but lame from start to finish! www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Frank Stöver

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

I still can feel it…back in the late 80s, there was a time when the name MORBID ANGEL was invoked with reverence. It was a time when young kids were forming new bands and their only goal was to be in some way like their worshipped gods of death. And more than once the once band revered most was this American band. The fact that their lyrical approach was more into the Black Metal reign also made the band to be revered by a wider audience. My encounter with MORBID ANGEL was way back in the 80s with a compilation "Satan's Revenge" where I was exposed for the first time to their sound. Although one could name many bands that might be an influence, they had a touch of their own.  And when I found out their debut album was coming, it was something expected with a lot of anxiety. Not only we were crushed to pieces by the delivery, they created in "Altars Of Madness" one of the top 10 Death Metal albums of all time…some would even say Top 3…it soon became a reference. Whereas many Death Metal bands were coming form Europe, this American trio reclaimed the throne with such black magic, that all those must obey. And it was from then onwards…I was lucky enough to watch them live in their "Altars" world tour, with the original line-up…I even interviewed Richard and Pete that day…they were beyond words…I still tremble just remembering how David Vincent presented 'Chapel Of Ghouls'…I knew I was watching a living legend…"Blessed Are The Sick" is also a monumental release, although some were expecting a second part of "Altars..." and thus had some (but very few) mixed reviews, it was still a top release. The same can be said about "Covenant"… they became a trio by losing guitarist Richard Brunelle, but it was also a release backed up with a major label and a big promotional campaign…this album was blessed with an almost perfect production for their style, but a few songs were not as strong as the rest of their material…at this point they were still a killer live act… "Domination" the last album of the first David Vicent era came along and the first with guitar player Erik Rutan…this is the beginning of the departure of the straightforward Death Metal attack turning more and more some songs and riffs into weird almost experimental stages, but still coherent and brutal enough to have their rabid fans screaming for more…up to this stage it is clear that the mastermind of the MORBID ANGEL is no other than Trey Azagthoth…up they went with more albums in their alphabetical order, with line-up changes between them and with a new vocalist…but for some reason, none of those albums recaptured the essence they did on their ABC…a few good songs here and there, but then it seems the mastermind of Trey was lost between too much video games and watching a lot of anime…then, one day it was announced the return of David Vincent…on the minds of the fans, it was like telling them, the return of the "ABC" of Death Metal…that was, I feel the worst part of it. Yes, the wrong perception…with this new album a new guitar player came…and for health issues a new drummer had to be used…a very capable one if you ask me…and 8 years passed since their last album…and thus with that time, something happened…it is not the same David Vincent…as it is not the same Trey Azagthoth…time has passed by and things change. So this band changed. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is nothing more than a step I WAS EXPECTING…yes, in my heart (and in the heart of thousand more) there was a BIG hope for a destructive straightforward Death Metal album that will teach the followers how the masters do it…the "ABC" of Death Metal again…but deeper in my heart (and some others) I knew this was going to be more likely a bad album…so I am not surprised here. Trey and company already gave us MANY hints on what was going to happen…interviews, what they were listening to…and fans were blinded by their own minds…yes, this has many songs which are industrial-metallized music…some are decent Death Metal…the production is great, although David Vincent vocals sound tired…and of course, if you look at their images, you cannot think that this cannot be a Death Metal band. Well, it isn't. They are on their right to explore, to do experiments, and even to do a failure. I think they went for this all the way and were conscious that it might be a curse for them. Of course, I am speaking with a Death Metal soul, but probably hardcore electronic fans will probably revere this one as their new altar…so, while for me the ultimate altar would be "Altars Of Madness" there is really no reason to mourn the departure of MORBID ANGEL of the Death Metal camp…on contrary I only had to thank them for the legacy they did…what happened here IS NOT something new…and no, I am not expecting that the "J" album will be better or back to the basics…face the truth there… if you want to listen to MORBID ANGEL clones, MORBID ANGEL influenced bands, whatever, I assure you, there are many out there…and some of those, probably better in what the masters were doing…just do not forget who started it all. www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Julián "Covenant" Núńez

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

Well, Mr Vincent a.k.a Evil D is back and I'm sure by now all of you have recognized that this does not mean a return to the glorious times of "Altars Of Madness" and "Blessed Are The Sick". To be honest I've never expected anything like that. I was convinced that they would just deliver another lame album in the vein of "Heretic" with Evil D doing the vocals. At least I expected a Death Metal album. Man, how wrong I was. After an annoying intro the "thing" (I refuse to call it an album) starts with 'Too Extreme!', a "song" so utterly bad that it really hurts. What the fuck should that be? Industrial? EBM? Noises from a steel mill? I don't know but I know one thing for sure: this is neither a Metal nor a Death Metal song. And it's getting worse; this is not the only weird part of the "thing". Five out of eleven "songs" are nothing but laughable and incredible embarrassing rubbish. I can't understand how one can call this innovative or original. What the hell is innovative in playing lame MARYLIN MANSON cover songs? What the hell is innovative in combining Metal with poor Industrial / Electro elements more than a decade after GODFLESH, SKINNY PUPPY, MINISTRY, NINE INCH NAILS and millions of other bands did this 100.000.000 times better? I will tell you: NOTHING!!! Sometimes I really hope this is just a joke, but unfortunately it isn't. Sure there are also a couple of Death Metal songs and compared to the other crap they are cool. But compared to older MORBID ANGEL stuff these songs are just mediocre. If those songs were on any previous MORBID ANGEL album they were definitely the weakest songs on those albums, even on "Heretic". By the way, I called them Death Metal but 'I Am Morbid' is also not really a Death Metal tune and 'Beauty Meets Beast' had some strange BATHORY tribute shoutings. Sure sometimes there is a good guitar solo and then there is a cool riff and then there is a... nope, that was it, there is nothing more that deserves the description good or cool on this "thing". I totally dislike the drum sound and the vocals are rather weak, too. Evil D was a cool vocalist and front man back in the early 90s but that's long ago. Today he just sounds like a pathetic version of a Metalcore vocalist. By the way, what the hell is Evil D shouting at the beginning of 'Radikult'? In my ears it sounds like "kill a cop, kill a, kill a, kill a cop ". WHAT THE FUCK????? Hahahaha. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is so utterly weak and pathetic. It's truly a shame to see how a legend digs its own grave. With this "thing" MORBID ANGEL proudly will enter the Hall Of Shame where METALLICA with "St. Anger", CELTIC FROST with "Cold Lake" and MORGOTH with "Feel Sorry For The Fanatic" were already waiting for them to claim the "Throne Of Failure". Once MORBID ANGEL was a prophetic band when they wrote a song called 'Fall From Grace', now we all witnessed this to come true... I really tried to understand this "thing" and listened to it again and again and again but it's hopeless. I surrender.  What a useless waste of time. Believe me, after finishing this review I will never again listen to this piece of crap. NEVER EVER!!! Sure, every artist is free in creating that kind of music that pleased him most BUT I'm also free to call this the biggest pile of bullshit ever!!!! I will shout it out loud: THIS IS THE MOST WORTHLESS AND ANNOYING PIECE OF CRAP EVER!!!! AVOID THIS AT ANY COST!!!! www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Hacker

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

After first listening to MORBID ANGEL with the song 'Thy Kingdom Come' back in 1988, I remember what an utter mindfuck it was as I could not get my head around the riffs and speed and unholy vocals. It was the most blasphemous stuff I had ever heard! Just too extreme! And if I thought I was going to hell for listening to "Hell Awaits", "Darkness Descends" and "Seven Churches", I KNEW I was going to hell after listening to "Altars of Madness"! And also for losing my virginity to this chick named Angelica outdoors next to a street in Juarez Mexico! "Altars..." was a straight up musical massacre that I am sure all of you faithful Voices readers own. Then the fucking around began with "Blessed Are The Sick" that had long intros, outros, acoustic pieces, etc., that were nice as touches but went beyond that and clearly overstayed their welcome. It seems someone has been stroking mastermind Trey Azagthoth's ego or he has been stroking himself as he believes doing shit and I mean shit that was done back in the 90s like RAMMSTEIN, ULTRAVIOLENCE, MARYLIN MANSON and THE BERSERKER is new and innovative now in 2011 and 'Too Extreme', as the title of the first song goes after a pointless fucking intro-song or whatever the fuck / who cares called 'Omni Potens' starts the proceedings. When I got the go ahead by the bIg boss Frank to do this review I went to have a Baconator double cheeseburger with enough bacon to make Mohamed and Allah turn in their graves and some chili, you know to clear my head and gather my thoughts. The bullshit drivel music playing in the restaurant like LADY GAGA and other assorted pop shit reminded me of the so called 'Too Extreme!' as far as the beat of the drum parts go, and the sound. And if LADY CACA and similars fall off the face of the earth tomorrow I could give a fuck and I'd sleep like a baby that night. I feel exactly the same way about the bullshit experiments on this album. By the way MORBID ANGEL as I was listening to 'Too Extreme!', RAMMSTEIN called they want their sound back! Now MORBID ANGEL or should I say TECHNO ANGEL reminds me of that idiot in the movie Grandma's boy that dressed like he was from "The Matrix", thought he was a genius and a robot, and "scared" people with his techno music. Trey and David please, get your head out of your asses no matter how industrial or hard you think "Hard" techno is, it's not. It's pussy and gay and fuck off to anyone offended by the terminology I just used! But then there are a couple of Death Metal songs in there, the fast ones, and I like 'em. The drums are a little bit too clinic-y for my taste but I prefer 'em to almost any of the material off of "Domination", "Gateways..." or "Heretic". And Pete Sandoval is not here. Fucking get over it all of you whiners: his back's giving him problems, he's out of comission hopefully just for now as the man is a pioneering drum god like Lombardo, El Paso's Gene Hoglan, Bud Mills (RIP) and Dave Grave. Get well soon Pedro! Tim Yeung does a more than adequate job of filling Pete's shoes. Wait MORBID ANGEL, MARYLIN MANSON called, they want their sound back that you used on the David Vincent penned track 'Radikult'. Which is basically a dance track. On a MORBID ANGEL album... do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?!? Horrible. Ah David Vincent, I am grateful for his return on one side coz here he has a more natural Death Metal voice like a mix of his vox on the first 3 albums as opposed to the low vocals of Steve Tucker that too many times made MORBID ANGEL sound like every fucking run of the mill Death Metal grunt / frog band out there. Look the low vox has been done already; see DEMILICH. No one can out low them, period. You see sometimes the return of an old frontman is a bad thing: when Snake returned to VOIVOD both vocals and drums softened up considerably. Here the return of Vincent is a good thing in his vocals and in original Death Metal spirit as you can tell on the Death Metal numbers on display here. It's a bad thing as a techno-industrial  RAMMSTEIN / MARYLIN MANSON enabler to Trey Azagthoth. Although the techno songs might be salvageable with a real drummer in a live setting I dislike the slow "Domination" like songs in the middle here. Yawn! Once Trey criticized "Hell Awaits" drums as not being Death Metal. Well the knife cuts both ways Mr. Azagthoth as just because your drummer is going fast on the double bass drums yet is essentially playing a Heavy Metal sing along song on the snare does not a Death Metal song make! Look, let me stop and say: some people make magnificent mind blowing art like say Goya, Bosch, Dali, Giger. And in real too extreme Metal Gene Palubicki has been on a hot streak with BLASPHEMIC CRUELTY, PERDITION TEMPLE and APOCALYPSE COMMAND. Some other people take a turd, a piece of shit, smear it on a canvas and call it art. Some will say oh that art is lovely! But that's not art that's not lovely, that's a piece of shit!! And Season Of Mist: you are paying thousands of euros for this?! 8 fucking years we waited for this? A decent EP's worth of MORBID ANGEL Death Metal and the rest an experimental pussy ass industrial techno album?! It's not as bad as my brother Dick Osmond says, a derailment (Dick likes saying derailment) like "Cold Lake" but I understand all those people angry with this. Trey and MORBID ANGEL can fancy themselves "artists" all they want but this is an almost complete failure. Yet I totally disagree with all those that have threatened the band with death and / or bodily harm. Death threats are against the law. You will be raped in prison. Don't think cowardly internet courage makes you immune to prison. You will be raped in prison. Now some have said they will throw dog shit on the band others say they will throw dog diarrhea at the band... hmmm, that might be harder to sneak into a show I think. But throwing dog poop at MORBID ANGEL will just be a slap on the wrist especially if you present this dogshit / farce called "IlIud Divinum Insanus" to the judge as evidence. Case dismissed! So you don't like the album don't buy it and encourage others not to buy it. Vote with your wallet. Don't threaten the band that has given us great classics like "Abominations Of Desolation", "Altars...", most of "Blessed...", 90% of "Covenant" etc. Not "Ilud Divinum Insanus"!!! Trey and David I believe you can do better. Cut the techno cut the intros cut the groaning and moaning, oh wait David Vincent, Pete Steele called from the grave, he wants his moans back! Season Of Mist, if MORBID ANGEL's next album is like this don't suck their dicks, tell 'em to go fuck themselves as MORBID ANGEL has told us, the fans to go fuck ourselves with this piece of shit album they've released! www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Luis M.L. Sallard

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

16 years have passed. 16 years since the mighty MORBID ANGEL released "Domination"; in my humble opinion, their last good album including David Vincent on bass / vocals. The albums that came after that were not MORBID ANGEL. Period. Now, with David Vincent back in the band, Season Of Mist puts out "Illud Divinum Insanus". I was expecting their comeback. Their comeback to the original sound and philosophy. Alas, was I surprised. Let me begin with one rule of thumb: bands evolve. They evolve conceptually and lyrically. The musicians evolve, ergo the music evolves. Sometimes we will like it, sometimes we won't. Now, this evolution has a meaning, it has a path already walked in order to get "there". I really don't know if MORBID ANGEL is trying to get there or if they are already there. But the mix of great and bad songs in "Illud Divinum Insanus" confused me since the first time I heard it. So, personally, I don't think this one is "THE" comeback album I was waiting for. First, the music itself. Musically, songs like 'Existo Vulgore', 'Blades For Baal' and 'Nevermore' showcase what these guys are capable of doing. This is MORBID ANGEL at its best! Pounding and slashing through one's brain with tons of riffs, a harsh, heavy as hell vocal attack and an incredible work from Mr. Tim Yeung, temporary filling in for Pete Sandoval. And then you have songs like 'Too Extreme!', 'Destructos Vs. The Earth / Attack' and 'I Am Morbid'. These are sad attempts to "evolve" into something completely unexplainable and inconceivable for a band like this one. I mean, 'Radikult' sounds like something taken from the latest ROB ZOMBIE album. Please someone get Trey's hands off the PlayStation 3! It seems he's been getting seriously into composing Video Game music instead of Death Metal. The other aspect that caught my attention was the lyrical concept. Who the hell wrote the lyrics? These are not the intelligent, obscure lyrics we were used to read, courtesy of Mr. David Vincent or the satanic attacks of Mr. Trey Azagthoth. That bad Spanish part in 'Too Extreme' is ridiculous. Now, the production is top-notch, the mix is perfect and the overall sound still retains that bite from the early work. Now, having stated the ups and downs of "Illud Divinum Insanus", I still find the album enjoyable when MORBID ANGEL is doing what they do best: fast, technnical, obscure, full of hate Death Metal! But since the album has only 4 songs devoted to their own style, the other songs just fill up the empty space. And, again, after 16 years, I was expecting more, a lot more, tons more... www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Alfonso Perez

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

Since most of you who are reading this already heard the album in one form or another, I won't bother getting into details, but present my opinion and address the whole big damn furore surrounding this album. This fact alone hammers on the head of the screaming sheeps that MORBID ANGEL has made a fucking loud statement and not just your run-of-the-mill, faceless crap that passes for the most releases these days. Now whether you can take the militaristic industrial influences that's another thing altogether and depends on how far your tastes are developed. So judging by most internet trolls' shitpinions MORBID ANGEL has made a travesty incorporating all these new elements into their music. All those monkeys crying "sellout" not only can't wrap their head around new influences, but also fail to notice that there are at least 6 tracks of prime quality "classic" MORBID ANGEL, meaning gut wrenching brutality with otherworldy Trey Azagthoth's solos, ripping Vincent vocals and superfast blastbeats. OK, if anything, I fuckin miss Pete Sandoval's drumming, Yeung is fast and technical, but also triggered as fuck and not as insanely aggressive on drums as Pete "Commando" Sandoval. On the whole, the album is different, each track has its own vision and character, variety wise MORBID ANGEL once again delivered something that no one from the Death Metal world did before and for that they will always remain on the top of extreme Metal. So you might hate it, you might love it, but there's no in-between and that is true art! The band evolves and is kicking ass in 2011 just like they did in the 90s and it's fuckin great! And last but not least, if your opinion is made by listening to the album on crappy PC speakers from mp3 files, then I don't even want to know you exist. This is addressed to all internet forum "commentators" who stole the album and are bashing it. Get the fuckin LP or CD, play it fuckin loud at least 10 times, read the lyrics and then you can start expressing your thoughts. www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Mindaugas "Plix" Lapinskas

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

While Evil D (or David Vincent, for all you apes who don't know his glamtastic alter-ego) was off exploring Cock Rock in his wife’s band GENITORTURERS, did you ever say to yourself, “Man, I wish he would return to MORBID ANGEL and bring some of that hip-shakin’, electro-awesomeness with him”?  How about, “Dude, MORBID needs some simplistic ELECTRIC HELLFIRE CLUB songs to offset their more Death Metal stuff”? Did you ever think, “MORBID ANGEL would be better if they lost the unearthly delivery – they need some humor in their lyrics”? No? Neither did I. But wait, in return for including some MARILYN MANSON B-sides, MORBID ANGEL offers its loyal fans a handful of generally mediocre Death Metal tracks as a consolation prize. For me, the mere proximity of the Death Metal to the Techno Metal (?) songs is like trying to enjoy a tasty dinner next to a toilet where reeking mucosal feces have flooded the floor. It's impossible, the meal is ruined. Apparently Trey is in a real bind, because while he has lost interest in creating wicked and world-class Death Metal, he still has to pay bills and support his Nintendo habit. So why not allow Latexman to take the reins of creativity?  Sure, the blonde dude on 2nd guitar wrote 'Blades For Baal', which has a damn infectious chorus riff, but again, I refer to the above, dinner / feces analogy. 'Radikult' alone has killed this album deader than METALLICA's integrity. I assure you that, if 'Band X' from Germany or USA or wherever tried this garbage, they would be laughed at and ridiculed. But because this is MORBID ANGEL, it’s called innovation. I call it one of Metal’s worst blunders and I never want to listen to it again. What's next, a new MOTÖRHEAD LP featuring guest vocals by Beyonce? www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Richard Osmond

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MORBID ANGEL
MORBID ANGEL
Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist)
56:43min

MORBID ANGEL promised an album of epic proportions. An album that would “break boundaries”, draw in new fans, and reinvigorate the old ones. Anticipation ran high, and the announcement of the new title, "IIlud Divinum Insanus", pushed hopes up even further. But dissenters spoke and voiced concerns years before, for since David Vincent’s return in late 2004, MORBID ANGEL seems to have changed for the worse, moving in a direction not unforeseen, but painful to watch nonetheless. Steve Tucker’s mysterious departure, and Vincent’s equally baffling return to Death Metal in spandex and goth clothing was enough to plant doubt in even the staunchest fan’s heart. Many people poke fun at the Metal community for its aversion to change. I want to point out for all the readers at Voices that change does not equal progression. It can, but there’s no law saying that this is always the case. In 1995, MORBID ANGEL released "Domination", and to the best of my knowledge, the reviews were lukewarm, despite the undeniable additions of 'Dominate' and 'Where The Slime Live', both of which were regularly performed live thereafter. This change, both in songwriting and in lyrical focus, was good for some, but hugely disappointing for most. Even Trey Azagthoth derided the album in a 1998 interview, saying "Domination" sounded “sterile”, the drums “too sampled”. And worse for the D-album, “I didn’t like David’s lyrics". Trey said this shortly before "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" was released. “Formulas...” arguably represents the band’s most positive change to date, surging forward without Vincent as a three piece. The music was surely different from previous albums, but the essence of MORBID ANGEL remained the same: occultism, mythology, spirituality, power. No; change, by itself, is not bad. Now, in 2011, MORBID ANGEL unveil an album to match the impotent "Domination", and then some. "IIlud Divinum Insanus" does, in a way, live up to its makers’ promises. Indeed, this is MORBID ANGEL as we have never, ever, seen them before; never once thought to see them. "IIlud..." opens with 'Omni Potens', an ominous, classically-influenced, funeral dirge, not unlike 'Doomsday Celebration' from "Blessed Are The Sick". Vincent’s deep “ohs” and “ums” sound fitting at first, but drag, as most ambient MORBID ANGEL tracks do (except 'Nar Mataru' from the "Covenant" record - that one rules). The fun starts with 'Too Extreme!', one of the much-maligned techno tracks. The song is, well, hard to describe. Suffice it to say the song has a percussive quality to it, though that’s most likely because the beats, as Vincent sings, are “pounding, pounding!” Doomf-doomf-doomf! 'Too Extreme' is just too much. It’s not too fast, it’s just too hyper, too much a song that asks for breakdancing, not headbanging. And to complete the oddity, Vincent’s preening lyrics, so beneath his proven abilities, are enough to induce cringing. “We are your new religion!” he shouts with rabble-rousing pride. Then there comes a verse in Spanish. New? Yes. An artistic fit for MORBID ANGEL? Perhaps, but perhaps not. There’s certainly nothing wrong with singing in Spanish, it’s just that MORBID ANGEL have never done it before, and while it’s nice to see them try new things (“thinking outside a preconceived box”, as the band advertises), this new approach to songwriting fits incongruously with what thousands of fans worldwide consider as MORIBD ANGEL’s identifiable sound. That the band wants to experiment isn’t the problem, it’s that this time, as with "Domination", the new album suffers from disunity; as if MORBID ran with whatever ideas they had with little to no revision. Indeed, David Vincent remarked in recent interviews that, “free form creative thought” lies at the heart of "IIlud Divinum Insanus", and, of course, MORBID ANGEL itself. “I held nothing back”. Perhaps you should have. For the pure of heart (in this case, that would be almost everyone alive), "IIlud..." formally begins with the first Death Metal track, 'Existo Vulgore'. Second in a row of poorly titled songs, 'Existo...' sounds better than its name indicates. At last, guitars, blasts, and guttural vocals sound off, resulting in a mixed bag of MORBID ANGEL sounds. Trey’s solo, for instance, would fit on "Gateways...", whereas the rhythm sections (and the cover art, for that matter) remind one of "Covenant". Tim Yeung, Pete “Commando” Sandoval’s replacement during his unfortunately long recuperation from back surgery, does a capable job; easily a player qualified enough to play classic songs live. Of all the things to criticize about "IIlud...", Yeung’s drumming doesn’t strike me as one of them. 'Blades For Baal', continues the Death Metal streak, still very much a welcome relief after 'Too Extreme'. Written by guitarist Destructhor, formerly of ZYKLON, the brutality of this song exceeds that of all others, and may just be the best track on the album - the only one really worth incorporating into future tours. However, here the soloing doesn’t match the intensity of the song, and rather floats over the drum beat, like a small celestial body left over from "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh". Again, an incongruous, unified song, very uncharacteristic of MORBID. Following 'Blades For Baal', 'I Am Morbid', works less as a song, and more as an anthem. And quite the prideful anthem, too. It starts with a chant of “Morbid! Morbid! Morbid!” most likely lifted from a soundboard recording, then the unspeakable: an almost catchy Nu-Metal riff from the late 90s, and an onslaught of Vincent’s self-aggrandizing lyrics. A peacock fluffing his feathers has more power. Written in a similar vein, '10 More Dead' would have made a plausible track for "Domination". A catchy groove carries the first minute before a surprising burst of speed, and a dizzying solo. This song - or rather, parts of songs such as this one, it could be argued, are actually the worst thing about "IIlud Divinum Insanus". They’re like teasers; hints of what this album might have been. One can only hope the band elaborates on these worthy elements for the J-album, assuming they make it that far. Now we come to the track that showed everyone the new face of MORBID ANGEL. 'Destrcutos vs. The Earth/Attack', alongside 'Nevermore' were featured on the promotional "Nevermore" single, released by Season of Mist some weeks before the album. What we heard on this single was a version of 'Destructos...' remixed by housecore artist COMBICHRIST. While this version obviously stinks, the album version also stinks, but for different reasons. An experimental track by any measure, 'Destructos...' has its moments, believe it or not. In fact, I’m going to out on a limb here and call it the only underrated "IIlud..." track. Whereas the other housecore / dance inspired tracks, like 'Too Extreme!' are nothing but an assortment of beats and demented electronics, 'Destructos...' boasts a dark, dirge-like beat. The bass and drums resonate with a unique power, and cast about an aura of doom. Indeed, this is what they should have done all along. Change works, only if the band’s identity suffers no compromise. Yet in spite of the positive features, I begrudge no one for writing this song off as just one more lame attempt at outstanding creativity from Evil D and the VILLAGE PEOPLE. There is much to criticize; particularly the annoying, harpy chorus of 'Destructos! Desctructos!' Additonally, Vincent relentlessly continues his quest to reaffirm MORBID ANGEL’s reputation with tough guy buzz words and phrases. 'Nevermore', the one song off "IIlud..." that no one anticipated because we’ve been hearing it since 2008, makes its appearance after 'Destructos...' It stands alongside 'Blades For Baal' as a superior song, both for its tight rhythms and speed. 'Beauty Meets Beast', the last Death Metal track on the album, presents more proof that MORBID can still crank out decent songs. A bit more melodious than average, the song steadily drew some aplomb. Again, though, Vincent’s vocals almost spoil the occasion. His oh-oooooh's seem hilarious versus brutal. Then again, though some songs indicate MORBID might have it within them to make a pure Death Metal record again, there’s ample evidence to the contrary, and no song off this album provides more startling proof of this grim possibility than 'Radikult'. No song in MORBID ANGEL history was so unassailably bad. Vincent, as if scorning the good warnings of common sense, sallies forth with the most preening, jockeyed verses I have ever heard. From him, that is. Obviously it’s easy to imagine some idiot like Fred Durst bellow about how far he’s come and how proud he is to still be “Bangin’ hardcore radicaaaaaal!” after all this time. But to hear David Vincent and MORBID ANGEL include such a hideous song on an album is heartbreaking. It really is. I don’t think anyone at any point over the last 25 years ever thought an album like this would bear the MORBID logo. More analysis of this utterly detestable song isn’t required. There’s nothing to say save that it royally sucks. Finally, 'Profundis: Mea Culpa' closes off the I-album. Another dose of keyboard craziness, but tempered somewhat by incantatory phrases sung in Latin, and Tim Yeung’s technically proficient drumming. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to recommend this song, unless you’re a fan of hilariously fast MIDI music. I’m truly sorry to speak so harshly of one of my favorite bands, and I intend no disrespect to the band, or those fans who have come to like "IIlud Divinum Insanus". However, I couldn’t very well say “Job well done", and move along. Many of us waited almost a decade for a new MORBID ANGEL record. To receive this after so many years is depressing. www.morbidangel.com, www.myspace.com/morbidangelofficial

Nathan Shapiro

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